By Kelsie Hoitomt
The Division 7 State Championship team was welcomed home by an escort of sirens and lights, consisting of three cop cars, three fire trucks and numerous cars filled with screaming fans.
The charter bus carrying the team and coaches was greeted outside of town with fireworks. In town, several signs showing pride and support were hung at almost every corner. Main street was lined with cars and more fans who showed their love for their state champions.
Once escorted around the entire town, the crowd of people piled into the high school gym to hug and greet their champions.
When the cheers quieted, the captains were given the microphone to give their speeches.
Matt Schouten spoke first. He gave praise to his team and coaches, but gave special thanks to his mom and cheerleader, Linda and his brother, Nick who has “been the hardest on him” and has been his biggest inspiration.
He spoke from the heart like a true champion and with not a dry eye left in the place, he thanked all the fans and handed the mic over to Austin Moe.
Captains Moe and Nick Mrdutt would follow with thank you speeches to their parents, their fans, their coaches and of course their fellow teammates.
Chris Wagner ended the captain’s speeches with an introduction to the “Hoggies”, the linemen who “may not make the paper every week, but are the driving force behind the team’s success.”
The Hoggies include seniors Kyle Peterson, Alex Little, Blake Ramsden and Chris Wagner along with Richard Ross, Donovan Fornal, Skylar Peterson, Brennan Kessler, Richard Croes, Logan Smith, Christian Smith, Charles Shackett and Hogan Chouinard.
Coach Shane Strong wrapped up the evening with continued gratitude for his team, fellow coaches and fans.
“This is a dream come true for me and I give all the credit to our boys. They made a commitment to our program, weight training, camps and tough practices. To see our senior class get here after they were freshman on our state quarterfinal team a few years ago brings tears to my eyes when I think about it,” shared Strong later on.
The welcome home ended with parents and fans taking pictures with the players around the championship trophy.
The last gold ball brought back to the Glenwood City School was in 1997 under direction of the late Phil Ottney.
Glenwood City has won the state championship three times now with each title being earned in three different divisions, including Division 5 in 1997, Division 6 in 1985 and now Division 7 in 2012.